Author Topic: Why is the Super EverDrive apparently inferior to the differently branded FXPAK?  (Read 6861 times)

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Offline EverNostalgic

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I love the name "EverDrive". It's perfect. I want to have one EverDrive (the best/latest) for each platform. However, it seems as if, even though EverDrive is the king of the flash carts for all the other platforms, the SNES EverDrive is... oddly lacking?

Instead, if I want to play all the crucial SNES games, I have to buy this different "FXPAK PRO" thing, which doesn't have "EverDrive" anywhere in its name. Why is that? Why is it separate? Can't it be "rebranded" or something so there's symmetry with the other products? Or maybe call it "Super EverDrive Pro" or something?

What is it about SNES that apparently makes it so difficult/expensive to support all the games?

Yoshi's Island, Stunt Race FX and DOOM are three examples of SNES games which I believe are not supported by the latest Super EverDrive, yet are considered "crucial golden classics" to me. I realize that these use the FX chip(s), and that this is lacking in the Super EverDrive, but my question is: why is that?

It seems strange to me that you have achieved near-complete compatibility for NES and N64, but not SNES. Is this about to change anytime soon? For psychological reasons, I can't bear the idea of having an EverDrive for GB, NES, N64, etc., but an "FXPAK PRO" for the SNES. I want it to be an EverDrive, but the Super EverDrive just won't run some of the most important (to me) SNES games.

Can you please explain to me why the SNES specifically is such a difficult console to make a flash cart for? Or do the EverDrive developers simply have minimal personal interest in this particular console, thus not spending enough time and resources on it?

It would be nice to get this explained once and for all. Please note that I'm not asking about the *difference* between the Super EverDrive and FXPAK Pro.

Offline lee4

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obviously you did not research enough to

note fxpak is manufactured and sold by creator of Everdrive

reason not under everdrive label is fxpak is created by different person
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Offline EverNostalgic

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fxpak is manufactured and sold by creator of Everdrive

Then it makes *even less* sense...

reason not under everdrive label is fxpak is created by different person

Doesn't explain anything? Why would that matter? What about what I asked?

PS: Also, having to constantly look up and type in years when things were released just to post here is insanely annoying. I hope that this is some temporary glitch with the forum.

Offline JP32

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FXpak is open source with PCB's cad files and everything available for public. Initially it didn't support any special chips AFAIK, but someone wrote support for snes special chips for it(and this was years later after it came out), this guy is separate who made the fxpak in the first place. the special chips, especially superFX and SA-1 are super complex and even the emulators had tons of problems with them, so thats one reason why they are unsupported, along with the fact that there are only handful games that uses those, and even less good games. Im not Krizz so Im not gonna guess his reasons why not.

And besides, super everdrive does play 90% of the snes library.

Also you are being awfully biased, nobody likes consolewarriors/fanboys so please get help and stop that mindset its just super annoying.

Offline EverNostalgic

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FXpak is open source with PCB's cad files and everything available for public. Initially it didn't support any special chips AFAIK, but someone wrote support for snes special chips for it(and this was years later after it came out), this guy is separate who made the fxpak in the first place. the special chips, especially superFX and SA-1 are super complex and even the emulators had tons of problems with them, so thats one reason why they are unsupported, along with the fact that there are only handful games that uses those, and even less good games. Im not Krizz so Im not gonna guess his reasons why not.

Seems like it's impossible to get a straight answer; the core question appears to be avoided every time I ask here and elsewhere.

And besides, super everdrive does play 90% of the snes library.

I explicitly listed three games it doesn't play, which I need to play. I don't know what your point with this is.

Also you are being awfully biased, nobody likes consolewarriors/fanboys so please get help and stop that mindset its just super annoying.

I have absolutely no idea what you mean by this out-of-the-blue insult. "Awfully biased" in what sense? Asking a question? What? "Consolewarrior"? "Fanboy"? "Get help"?! "Stop that mindset"? Did you even read my question at all, or did you ignore it and just imagine some completely unrelated question which I didn't type?

The toxicity here is absolutely staggering so far. I don't even know how to react to this unwarranted rudeness. If you have zero interest in helping, don't respond at all instead of being hostile to somebody asking a genuine question in a very polite manner.

Offline nuu

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First, the thing you have to fill in each post will go away once you have been a member a little longer. It's annoying but spambots are even more annoying.


Second, why is the FXPAK not an Everdrive? The Everdrives are Krikzz's babies so it doesn't make any sense that someone else could use that name on their product. Ikari_01 who made the FXPAK (initially called SD2SNES) just designed it as an open-source flashcart, but he didn't make or sell it himself. Krikzz who already had the ability to manufacture flashcarts started making and selling them. I don't know if they have some sort of contract, but technically anyone could make and sell the FXPAK as it isn't owned by Krikzz (not sure about the Pro as the hardware isn't open-source anymore).
So why don't Krikzz make an Everdrive that can do what the FXPAK can? There's no reason when the FXPAK is already filling that gap and he is selling it, so his Super Everdrive is instead a budget option to the FXPAK.


Third, why is the SNES so hard to make a flashcart with near-100% compatibility for compared to other consoles? It has a very large number of different types of cartridges used by different games, and a flashcart must be able to transform itself into the cartridge the game you load expects for it to work correctly. There are also all these co-processors like the Super FX, SA-1, DSP, OBC-1, Cx4, SPC7110 and many others included on SNES cartridges and the flashcart must be able to replicate their behavior too. Here is a list of them and their games: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Super_NES_enhancement_chips
These co-processors are often proprietary and all technical information about them are confidential. To be able to replicate these chips using FPGA technology, which modern flashcarts generally use to transform themselves to the necessary hardware, you need quite a large and expensive FPGA device and skilled people that are able to reverse-engineer these co-processors and also able to replicate them in programmable logic (the FPGA device). Not all co-processors are still fully understood yet, and the replication in FPGA isn't perfect. The fact that the FXPAK can do as much as it can is thanks to many people over the years who have reverse-engineered the hardware and documented it.
Needless to say the FXPAK needs to be expensive to have such a beefy FPGA as required, and isn't easy to make. Yet it's still not good enough for the ST018 co-processor.

The NES has even more different types of cartridges than the SNES (at least over 250) so the fact that the Everdrive N8 has so good compatibility is an achievement in its own regard. But these different cartridge types, which are generally called mappers, are seldom as advanced as the co-processors on the SNES. The main problem with the NES is that there are so many of them.

The Gameboy also has a number of mappers, but not by far as many as the NES. Some of them require very special hardware though (tilt sensors, rumble motors, IR-ports, buzzers among other devices) so the compatibility for Gameboy is not as good as for many other flashcarts.

The PC Engine, Sega consoles, N64 and GBA doesn't have the above problems on the same scale. That's why flashcarts with very good compatibility are much easier to make for these consoles.

Offline EverNostalgic

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This was a good reply. Thanks.

Still, I do wish that the "FXPAK PRO" were rebranded as "Super EverDrive Pro", simply to get a consistent "branding", regardless of the history of who made what exactly. Or, perhaps even better, what if the Super EverDrive (in future versions) remains as-is, but with some sort of expansion slot in the cartridge, allowing you to optionally buy an "FXPAK PRO" module that you just slide in there to enable it to play "all" games? Of course easier said than done, but it sounds reasonable to me, and would allow people to get an EverDrive for each platform, even the problematic SNES.

Offline nuu

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I definitely don't agree with that, unless Krikzz took over the development of the FXPAK from ikari_01. But he has many Everdrives to keep up with so I'm not sure it would help. I'm not a fan of the new name FXPAK, but I really don't want it to be called an Everdrive since it isn't an Everdrive. It's still ikari_01's baby and he still develops it, regardless who his manufacturer or seller is.

Everdrives are great because they are modern flashcarts covering many systems, but far from all of them are the best option. Always research the flashcart situation for each platform before you buy a new flashcart for it. Don't just buy an Everdrive just because it's usually the best one.

The FXPAK module idea makes little sense to me. If you are somehow able to squeeze a whole FXPAK in a module that is attached to an Everdrive it would be very big and expensive, wouldn't it? You might as well buy the normal FXPAK and print a new label for it if you just want the name. The firmware background can be customized as well.

Offline Richardragon87

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The PC Engine, Sega consoles, N64 and GBA doesn't have the above problems on the same scale. That's why flashcarts with very good compatibility are much easier to make for these consoles.

I have been thinking of this for a long time but I finally came to a conclusion the reason why NES and SNES are really hard to replicate on the real hardware... this reason being is they are both disk based systems despite them still being cartages like N64 and GBA if we look into their history one was going to be joint developed by NEC being the FDS which is why the NES used disk based games, I wouldn't be surprised if the NES games themselves had some replication of how they were running despite them being on a cartage and the SNES was originally going to be a CD based system too and not a cartage as it was going to be joint developed by Sony if I recall so likely some decrypted features are still embedded into those platforms which is why its so hard to run most of them. 
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Offline nuu

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No you got to the wrong conclusion. The NES and SNES were both designed to use cartridges from the start. The FDS and the SNES CD add-ons are both totally separate hardware.
The N64 actually works a bit like a disk-based system since it has a large amount of RAM that it uploads code to and executes from there. But that doesn't really matter to the question, as a cartridge is still a hardware expansion that can include ROM, RAM and other hardware, totally unlike a floppy or optical disk which can only contain software and requires extra RAM to be uploaded to before it can run. The reason is like I said above, there are too many mappers for NES and SNES, and much less on the other ones. The same mapper problem exists on all these consoles, just on different scales.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2021, 01:04 PM by nuu »

Offline Majestic_Lizard

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The SNES was not originally going to be CD-Based, that is was the Sony Playstation.

The Famicom was not originally CD-based, but had a floppy drive expansion device, which is an entirely different technology that CD-Roms.

The NES and SNES were both anemic in the processing department and developers used special chips to compensate for this.

Had nothing to do with CD-ROMS.

No one goes and takes someone else's concept and puts their own brand on it after being given permission to produce it. That is just not how things are done.

Offline Wormwood

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Why are you so caught up on what the product is called? Who cares?

Offline Sarge

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While the SNES CPU wasn't smoking fast (nor the NES), I wouldn't call it "anemic", either. I've seen people in the know that said the SNES was roughly equivalent to 70% of the Genesis capability. Not ideal, but certainly not as bad as it's made out to be, either. The NES CPU and SMS CPU are pretty evenly matched, despite the clock speed disparity, because the 6502 architecture is more efficient on a cycle basis.
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Offline nuu

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70% huh, that's very interesting "blast processing" numbers. The SNES beat the MD in most other departments except speed.
I think they both where beat by the PC Engine in terms of speed, which also used a 65xx CPU but at 7.6MHz easily beating the SNES in clock speed, mips and RAM speed, and beating the MD in mips at the very least.

I think the NES was pretty high spec when it came though? It beat all other home gaming systems of the time, and lacked mostly only in RAM compared to computers of the time (2kB WRAM and 16kB VRAM (plus 256byte sprite RAM) compared to the 64kB total RAM of Commodore 64). The jewel of the crown in both the NES and SNES are the PPU video chips though, which both were very capable for their time and comparable to concurrent arcade systems. The SNES blew all console competition away with its powerful Super-PPU packed with feature such as huge color palettes, mode 7, transparency and other effects.